COVID-19 has been the main priority in the last year for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, another critical role they are looking to bring more light to is preventing toxic chemicals from making their way into our food.
While President Biden has yet to nominate a new commissioner for the FDA, scientists and doctors are already calling for the new one to tackle food safety and toxicity.
The new commissioner is set to address and evaluate dangerous food chemicals that have been present for decades. Recent evidence has surfaced that support removing elements such as artificial dyes, olestra (a non-caloric fat substitute), and BHA and BHT (used as a preservative to prevent oxidation and have been linked to being a human carcinogen from the International Agency for Cancer Research). Among these, perchlorate has been gaining much attention, as it is an ingredient in rocket fuel and used in plastic packaging and can be harmful to pregnant women, causing developmental delays and learning disabilities in babies.
New evidence has also emerged showing toxic levels of lead, arsenic, and cadmium in food commonly consumed by children. The Closer to Zero Act aims to tackle that issue promptly. They plan to roll out this plan in phases to prevent the cost increase of nutritious foods.
The overall outlook is positive as we move forward. The FDA plans on making foods safer and free from many toxic chemicals. They plan on monitoring new plans and plans already in place to ensure and maintain future safety.
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